Sing Leaf is the project of Toronto-based David Como, who – with recent album, Not Earth – has created a beautifully-ambitious and rewarding celebration of life’s magic and mundanity.
Essentially a part-domestic record – written and recorded by Como at home with songs of daily life – and partly a delve into a psychedelic majesty of musical collages, Not Earth is an exercise in instinct. With simple songs shifting into new ethers – which then give way to sprawling sound experiments that seem to exist on another plane to the predecessor – Como has created a brave new world for listeners to delve into.
Como spoke to Secret Meeting about some of the influences that have led him to this point…
Three albums I love
Dr. John – Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
Music as magic, as medicine. It started working on me before I even knew I was hearing it .. playing out of the next room and I was drawn in. My landlord playing it in his smoky room and I begged him for the copy. Had to have it. He had a mono and a stereo, both original presses. He wouldn’t part with the mono. I had to keep walking up $10 at a time until he finally agreed to give me the stereo copy. Dr. John’s first record, he was going by the name The Night Tripper. The label on the record I have has a typo, says The Night Stripper. And that’s TRUE.
J.J. Cale – Troubadour
If I could possess and transmit any kind of energy besides my own, I’d want to give off the easy waves of J.J. Cale. It’s just cool, steady, confident, like he’d play it the same if nobody was listening,. I heard a story somewhere that he played a big festival with the Allman Brothers and the crowd was so big and the vibe not intimate, J.J. so weirded out that he had his band sit in a circle on stage and just face each other. Heavy … so … ‘listen, if you see her, send her my way … looking for the woman that got away’.
Sparklehorse – It’s A Wonderful Life
I heard my first Sparklehorse song on Sept. 11, 2001, right after the planes had hit the towers. I was a teenager, working as a secretary for a flower distribution company in a small office in downtown Guelph, Ontario. Manager was a guy named Irwin who would bring me a Big Turk chocolate bar every day, even though I hated Big Turk chocolate bars. I felt bad because he had glaucoma, so I just had a drawer full of Big Turks. When the first tower went down everybody else in the office took the day off to go to the bar to watch the TV and see what was happening. I had to stay and watch the phones. I used to have these games I’d play in the office when I was alone, how fast could I add one to one to one on a calculator, like what was the biggest total I could get to in a minute. I’d also throw the letter opener like a throwing knife into the backs of chairs, pretend I was an assassin or something. So I was alone, doing that, listening to the radio, the university station there .. and the song Apple Bed came on by Sparklehorse, and it made all the hairs stand up. It inhabited me and his music will always be a part of me, it’s almost so much a part of my growing up that I can’t even really listen now .. it’s like reading an old diary or something, so heavy, so beautiful. The best really.
One film I love
It contains all the truths necessary to live a good life … connecting to your true nature, being of service to others and honouring that power that is greater than you. It is deep, I didn’t realize how deep until a couple nights ago when I was in the grips of wild psychedelic fear. And it brought me out, ironed me out, tucked me in to rest.
A book I love
Derek Walcott – Another Life
It’s a book divided into chapters, but it’s poetry, it’s also an autobiography. I was turned on to it in my final year at the University of Toronto. I took a pretty intense course in Caribbean poetry. The class was intimate, held in one of the spires of the big University College building, beautiful building. Only like 10 of us there, and we’d have to climb up this little narrow spiral staircase and it was like being hidden away in a castle or some Hogwarts shit. And we’d sit around the table and read, talk, write things ourselves. It felt safe and secret. This book had a big effect on me, never read anything like it. I wrote a song Blasted that is on a record I made called Watery Moon, and the lyrics, the way they move, heavily influenced by Walcott’s flow in this book.
One song that’s important
Bob Dylan – Murder Most Foul
Listen to the song, then listen to the songs he references, watch the movies of the people he names. ‘Was a hard act to follow, second to none – they killed him on the altar of the rising sun.’ Why in 2020 is he taking us back there … you know why, and if you don’t, you gotta listen again, and again. More than a song this is a coded message, something you need to hear and think about … play it in the car on a quiet road, play it in bed with the lights real low …. send it to a friend, to someone you love, and see what they hear .. and ain’t it strange, as I’m typing this BOB DYLAN was the answer on Weakest Link or Millionaire or whatever show is playing quiet on the cable tv in the next room. And that’s TRUE.
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